Pakistan in panic as smog returns, hitting Lahore

Another spell of toxic smog has started gripping the heart of Pakistan – Lahore – amid unsuccessful efforts by provincial environment regulators in measuring the air quality index.

Each winter, from October to November, thick smog envelops Lahore and numerous cities across the dusty and densely populated Punjab plains.

Meanwhile, the international air quality monitoring agencies have listed Lahore among one of the most polluted cities in the world. A US Air Quality Index has stated Pakistan’s AQI had been reached up to 332 followed by Delhi’s 208. These statistics show that the Lahore’s air quality is much unhealthy as compared to the World Health Organization’s guidelines.

An AQI between O and 50 is said to be good, 51 and 100 satisfactory, 101 and 200 moderate, 201 and 300 poor, 301 and 400 very poor and 401 and 500 severe.

Approximately 7 million people worldwide die prematurely each year from air pollution-related diseases, with about 4 million of these deaths occurring in Asia-Pacific.

When contacted, Naseemur Rehman, a senior official of EPD, said that the department has taken several measures to minimise effects of smog. He said none of the steps have failed and efforts of the department didn’t mean that smog will not build up over the city. He said the department is keenly watching the situation and will take appropriate measures.